Eagles Offseason Needs: An explosive third receiving option for Jalen Hurts?

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Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Philadelphia Eagles have been in the market for a reliable slot receiver for many years, arguably since the Super Bowl year when Nelson Agholor held it down. It remains a position of major need in 2024.

The options have dwindled into almost nothing. Consider this, all three guys who saw time in the slot last season are free agents — Quez Watkins, Olamide Zaccheaus, Julio Jones — and the only player left on the roster to eat up those snaps would be Britain Covey. The latter is a key contributor in the kick return game, but his production as a receiver is capped. He’s not the answer.

That leaves a bevy of unknowns to compete for the job, perhaps Olympic speedster Devon Allen or last year’s summer standout Joseph Ngata can make the leap. Anything is possible. More likely, the Eagles will look to add someone in free agency or in the draft to finally soothe the roster’s biggest headache.

Let’s take a look at a few intriguing names, shall we?

3 Potential Draft Picks for the Eagles

Ladd McConkey: His impressive showings at the Combine and Senior Bowl have some scouts moving him up to the first round with not-so-subtle comparisons to Julian Edelman becoming the norm. McConkey — 4.39-second speed on a 6-foot, 186-pound frame — might be the best pure route-runner in the draft, plus his ability to flawlessly get in and out of breaks makes him ideally suited for the slot. Not for nothing, McConkey is a proud Georgia alum and everyone knows how much the Eagles love their Bulldogs.

Xavier Worthy: Head coach Nick Sirianni has always valued speed all over the field, particularly in the slot, so he must be salivating at the opportunity to add the fastest man in the draft. Worthy isn’t a big target (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) but showed he has lightning bolts for legs after running the 40-yard dash in 4.21 seconds. His blistering time set a new record and topped Usain Bolt. The former Texas standout is predicted to go in the second round and the Eagles just so happen to have two second round picks.

Xavier Legette: The South Carolina product kind of brings Alshon Jeffery vibes on first glance, thanks to his ability to out-leap defenders on 50-50 balls and come up with tough contested catches. He was primarily employed as an outside receiver in college, but planting him down in the slot would certainly be a matchup nightmare in the NFL. Legette shines when he gets the ball in his hands, leveraging his muscular frame (6-foot-1, 223 pounds) and strong hand-eye coordination to bully people while racking up YAC yards.

3 Potential Free Agents for the Eagles

Tyler Boyd: The eight-year veteran is the odd man out in Cincinnati and hits free agency with plenty of suitors. Boyd, a second-round pick in 2016, has drool-worthy numbers: 513 career receptions for 6,000 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also saw 71.83% of his snaps come in the slot role last season for the Bengals. A player like Boyd would fit in perfectly with this Eagles offense.

Curtis Samuel: The 27-year-old receiver out of Ohio State was a Swiss Army Knife for the Commanders. They lined him up all over the field in 2022 and 2023, allowing him to make a combined 126 catches for 1,269 yards along with 45 carries for 226 yards and 10 total scores. He caught 73% of passes thrown his way last season, with just four drops on 85 targets.

Calvin Ridley: The Eagles had a trade in place to acquire Ridley in 2022 until a gambling suspension broke the deal up. The one-time All-Pro has been a proven playmaker over the years, highlighted by a whopping 90 catches for 1,374 yards in 2020 including a league-best 15.3 yards-per-catch average. Mostly used on the outside, he’d have to adjust to playing the slot … but the possibilities would be limitless in Kellen Moore’s scheme which values big-play receivers who can get in and out of breaks quickly. Ridley was also a teammate of DeVonta Smith and Jalen Hurts at Alabama so chemistry could be instant.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy